20something profile: Harrison
Hello, everyone! My name is Harrison Rich. I’m 24, and I’m from the Saint Louis area. I graduated in December 2012 from Webster University with my bachelor’s degree in Music Education and plan on pursuing grad school this fall.
My experience at Webster was great and offered the exact right mix of what I needed in college: a small college experience with a healthy mix of music, education, and music education. Since Webster University is a small liberal arts college in a metropolitan area, I don’t consider it to be a “normal” college experience.
I am currently working in a great district as a Teacher’s Assistant. I was really hopeful of getting a full time teaching position right away, but I understand how competitive the job market is and am even more hopeful for next year! Despite the extrinsic value that my job sometimes lacks, I absolutely love what I do and think that I am lucky to work in a caring educational setting at such a young age.
I also teach private lessons, work retail part time for fun, and play music more than I ever have before. Along with being an aspiring educator, it feels great to be a working musician. My primary instrument is saxophone, and I play other instruments as well.
My career goals include teaching music in schools as well as universities, obtaining a doctorate in music — although I haven’t decided the specifics — and continuing to play and write music. I think my first life observation after leaving college was that life comes at you pretty quickly, and sometimes it’s hard to achieve everything that you set out for right away.
I was contacted to write a post for this blog after writing a post on my blog titled “Why my 20s are Important and Why I Feel Old.” I now think the main reason why this time in my life is important is because I can still do a lot of things while I’m young. I haven’t settled down and am in good physical shape. I can only imagine what educators with children go through.
Now onto what I would consider to be the “bread and butter” of this post. I am supposed to put my thoughts of what it is like to begin a career in a struggling economy. My advice to anyone out of school and trying to make that first step: BE POSITIVE!
Let’s face it: life is tough and unfair, and sometimes the job market is as well. I am a firm believer that if you only focus on what’s fair, you’ll never solve the problem. After all, you can complain all day and night, but in the end there are people out there with jobs that are just as qualified as you are. Sometimes it’s luck; sometimes it’s pure determination.
Get your foot in the door! Yes, everyone wants to hire someone with work experience, so will your first job out of college be ideal? It might, but I would suggest taking what you can get. If you get a job in your field that doesn’t pay well, stick with it! Sometimes it takes making less money to make even more money in the future. If you succeed, it will only lead to better opportunities.
Lastly, be open to what you can do and where you can do it. “Cast a wide net,” as the saying goes. If you are only looking in one place that never hires you, you are only focusing on the issue. Stay positive about the whole process as well, and commit the same amount of time you would working a full time job to help look for a job. Just know that there is someone out there that would love to hire you and be represented by you; you might have just not found it.
I hope this input was helpful. I am not trying to deny that there are real issues in today’s economy. I just hope that I am encouraging!